Monday coming is National Aboriginal Day, and this weekend we shall observe Aboriginal Prayer Sunday: this is an opportunity particularly to give thanks for and celebrate the rich culture and customs of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, and for all who live in this land to commit anew to learning from this heritage, and to walking together in Reconciliation.
There is an added poignancy to our observance this year, in the light of the grim discovery two weeks or so ago of the unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Those of us who are settlers bear a great burden of shame.
On Wednesday of this week, Aboriginal Front Door and local Elders in the DTES hosted a Remembrance of the 215 on the steps of St James’. Residential School Survivors, members of the Indigenous community of all ages, members of the congregation, the Bishop and several clergy were present. The church bell was tolled 215 times. There was lament in song, word, and dance. There was grief, anger, and anguish. Apology was renewed, and challenge laid before the church. There was respect: for those who did not come home; for Survivors and Elders; for the Anglican Church’s commitment to Reconciliation. And there was hope, that we shall find a way to move forward together.
Are we ready, individually and as the Parish of St James’, to continue this journey?
Particular thanks are due to Elder Kelvin Bee, Aboriginal Front Door, and Fr Matthew, for bringing together this sacred gathering.
Download the service booklet for Sunday, June 20 here: Liturgy at Home Pentecost 4 Aboriginal Prayer June 20 2021